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Young making the most of chance to play every day

NEW YORK -- For the first time since he's been in the Major Leagues, Eric Young Jr. is getting the chance to play every day. In the process he's given New York the type of leadoff hitter it lacked through the early part of the season, getting on base consistently and taking an aggressive approach on the basepaths.

After being hit by a pitch in his first at-bat of Friday night's 13-8 loss to the Phillies, Young stole second. He wanted to show the Phillies that the Mets weren't simply going to "roll over" after Philadelphia took a four-run lead in the top of the first inning, and he made sure he put himself in the best position to score.

"You don't want to necessarily force anything, because that's when you make bad decisions," Young said. "In that situation I wanted to make sure I get in scoring position and get in the best possible position for our middle of the order to try and knock me in."

But after Young advanced on Daniel Murphy's flyout to left field, giving the Mets had a runner at third with one out, Philadelphia starter Kyle Kendrick struck out the next two hitters to get out of the inning.

Since being acquired in a trade with the Rockies on June 18, Young is hitting .300 with 10 RBIs in 25 games. He has a .381 on-base percentage and nine stolen bases in that span.

Young has made the most of his opportunity to be in the lineup on an everyday basis. Colorado turned him into a role player, but being a starter is what he's always wanted.

"This is what I did throughout the Minor Leagues," he said. "I played every day. I never really was a big numbers guy. I know if you get the at-bats, [if] you get the playing time, the numbers are going to be there at the end of the season."

In situations such as Friday night's first inning, he's proved to the Mets that he belongs in the leadoff spot regularly. His versatility has also helpeds, as he's played both center and left field, and second base.

"I guess it makes me a more dynamic player, being able to play all those," Young said. "I'm sure it makes it easier for [manager] Terry [Collins] when he does his lineup card. He can move me around to accommodate those other guys."

Chris Iseman is an associate reporter for
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